It's impossible for me to get through Emy's birthday weekend without the memories of two years flooding back and knocking me all sorts of sideways. Last year I was a mess. Filled with regret, insecurities, raw, emotional wounds that had barely scabbed over, only to be ripped wide open with the jagged edges of what-if scenarios. This year, not so much.
By no means has the past week been easy. Between annual doctor appointments sending me into PTSD spirals of lunacy and an almost manic devotion to cleaning, organizing, and planning a party I have driven myself into a frenzied state of anxiety and exhaustion. But this year feels different. It is still shocking to me that 2 years have gone by since that fateful day. How is that possible? The events that have transpired since May 27, 2010 seem infinitely further away and yet the emotional memories attached are still so raw that it can't possible have happened 731 days ago.
Regardless of how much time has actually passed or how it feels, my daughter is very much 2. She is creative, independent, opinionated, and very quick to tell you when things aren't going the way she intended. She is funny, fearless, and feisty. I only cried a couple of times and it was from happiness. She has taught me many lessons over the past year - lessons of patience, humor, willpower, when to stand my ground, and when to give in, but the biggest lesson I've learned from being her mom is the lesson of gratitude. When it boils down to it, I am so lucky be her mama, to learn from her, and watch her discover the wonders of our world. Especially, to see that at such a young age she has already learned that family exists outside of Mama & Daddy. We have so many amazingly strong and supportive people in our life and it was incredible to observe her interacting with these people this weekend. This is a kid who knows who loves her.
We may have spent a day celebrating Emy and my dad's birthday, but for me the celebration was about so much more than that. It was a celebration of love and our family (blood & otherwise). Large, dysfunctional, and crazy as we may be, we have only gotten stronger and more unified over the last year. It will take a lifetime of backyard barbeques and celebrations to come close to expressing the gratitude I feel in my heart.